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Film Review: ‘Trolls’ is Catchier Than it Has a Right to Be

CHICAGO – “Trolls” isn’t the type of confection that I would normally subject myself to, but at least it didn’t make me want to stick knitting needles in my ears. That’s because “Trolls” aspires to be this season’s “Frozen,” a full blown animated musical jam packed with songs you can’t get out of your head as much as you might try.

Interview: Directors Mike Mitchell & Walt Dohrn of ‘Trolls’

CHICAGO – The delightful new animated film “Trolls” takes the familiar doll to a new level of fun and heart. Behind this invention is the director team of Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn, who have worked together in various animation roles over the years before teaming up in their first collaboration for Dreamworks Studio.

DVD Review: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Sings Again on DVD

Inside Llewyn Davis

CHICAGO – “Inside Llewyn Davis” shows the strength of the Coen brothers’ authorship, and the vitality their vision gives to different time periods, locations, and life experiences. This freewheelin’ bildungsroman of destiny? coincidence? trails a scraggly singer/songwriter (Oscar Isaac as the title character), daring to spread olden tunes in a period of American artistry that is pre-Dylan.

Film Review: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Resonates Like Long-Lost Folk Masterpiece

Films about musicians are remarkably common. Artists from one medium have always loved to put themselves in the well-worn shoes of craftsmen from another. Most of them are stories of an underrated talent rising to the top of his profession, designed for both audience and filmmaker to live vicariously through the protagonist’s success.

Interview: Actor Oscar Isaac Goes Deep ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

CHICAGO – One of more memorable performances of 2013 is from an actor who has been a bit under the radar – Oscar Isaac. After character parts in several familiar films, like “The Nativity Story,” “Sucker Punch” and “The Bourne Legacy,” Isaac steps out as the lead in the new Coen Brothers film, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Film Review: Ben Affleck Can’t Save Limp ‘Runner Runner’

CHICAGO – Off shore internet gambling sites, tons of money, glorious glamorous women, parties all the time – how the heck can all of that be dull? The new film “Runner Runner” found a way. Ben Affleck phones it in and Justin Timberlake is name recognition window dressing in this limp drama.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Runner Runner’ with Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated thrillerRunner Runner” starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck!

Blu-ray Review: Generic is a Kind Word For ‘Trouble with the Curve’

Trouble with the Curve

CHICAGO – “Trouble with the Curve,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, opens with Clint Eastwood talking to his unresponsive cock and then kicking a chair across the room. He’s in full ornery old man mode in this movie that features talented people working with a script that doesn’t allow any of them to actually use their talents.

Film Review: Clint Eastwood Whiffs in ‘Trouble with the Curve’

CHICAGO – Clint Eastwood keeps going and going. His reputation as an actor is secure in a long career, and his power as a director is Oscar worthy. His ability to recognize a limp script? Not so much, if “Trouble with the Curve” is a gauge. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake are along for the pitch.

Interview: Director Robert Lorenz Pitches ‘Trouble with the Curve’

CHICAGO – Baseball gets the metaphor-for-life treatment once again in “Trouble with the Curve,’ starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout estranged from his daughter (Adams) and seeks redemption in both arenas of his life. Making his directorial debut is Robert Lorenz, who has worked with Eastwood since “Bridges of Madison County.’

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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